10 Things You’ll Wonder During Labor and Delivery

It’s almost go time, mama! You’ve got your hospital bag packed, childbirth classes under your belt and your birth plan written down. If this is your first baby, you’re most likely still very curious (aka scared to death) about the actual labor and delivery process. Turns out, pregnant women all wonder the same things from the delivery room! Here are the top 10 things you’ll wonder (and Google) during labor and delivery.

Am I really in labor…and is this normal?

Unlike the pregnancy expectations you have from movies or stories, when labor really begins can be somewhat of a mystery. Has your water actually broken? What is a mucus plug and what does it look like? Am I having contractions? Is this normal? Rest assured you’re like 99% of all women who wonder if labor is really happening. Put your doubts aside and consult with your doctor to know what to expect.

How long will I be in labor?

This is the most frequently asked question, and clearly the part most women worry about. How long will I have to push? Will medication help? The average for women is to labor for about eight hours, but there’s really no way to determine how long yours will go. The best thing to do is to research the stages of labor so you know what to expect during the overall process.

Will I have to be induced?

Childbirth classes may bring this topic over, or it can easily be glossed over. For example, did they share the differences between Pitocin, Cervidil or a Foley bulb? Because most women don’t plan on being induced, it can bring up several last minute questions if you find yourself in the position where you need to hurry things along.  

Do I get an epidural or not?

Some women take a hard stance on whether to shoot for a natural delivery, and then others get in the moment and change their minds. Common questions regarding epidurals include how they are inserted, how long they last, what it feels like and when it’s too late to request one. Because of the often reverse on whether to get one at the last minute, it’s good to read up on those while you can.

What if I have to have a C-Section at the last minute?

In some instances a C-section is planned in advance and others it comes as a surprise because the delivery becomes an emergency scenario. Because it’s something that can happen with little preparation, do yourself a favor and read up on them well before your due date.

What is that pain I’m feeling? Why do I feel like I have the flu?

Unexpected aches and pains are a normal aspect of labor and delivery. It’s not completely uncommon for some women to feel a “ring of fire” as they push, have chattering teeth or the urge to throw up. Some labor sensations can come as a complete shock as every woman experiences something different with labor.

Why does my butt hurt so bad?

Overall, labor is painful. That’s a given. But what comes as a total surprise for most women is the intense pain they feel in their butt. There’s a considerable amount of pressure and strain from pushing a baby out so it’s an area that is likely to be sore for a while during recovery. It makes sense since the rectal area is just south of the birth canal. This is one you will no doubt wonder about but be prepared for the horror stories if you do Google it.

Will I tear while giving birth?

First things first: it has happened to many moms and they’ve all lived to tell about it. It’s one of those normal occurrences of giving birth that you can’t predict or prevent. It’s an understandable fear, and one you have lots of questions about. But try to keep your focus on delivering a healthy baby instead. If you do require an episiotomy, you should heal within a few weeks.

What will I do while I’m waiting for labor to begin?

Some women will find they have a lot of time to wait before delivery begins. And since you won’t go back home until you’ve had the baby, how will you pass the time? Therefore one of the top things searched is what’s on Netflix or music you can play to keep you and your partner entertained during the hours spent waiting.

What happens after delivery?

A lot of women are so focused on actual delivery and caring for the baby that they’re completely unexpected for postpartum and all its glory. How you will care for yourself after labor is ultimately dependent on the type of delivery you had. You’ll be able to obtain personalized information from your OB, midwife or doula. Don’t be afraid to ask them the most probing questions, it’s what they’re for.

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